First, it was Louisiana State University running back Leonard Fournette who decided to skip his teams bowl game. Next, it was standout all-purpose Stanford University running back Christian McCaffrey.
Now, the recent epidemic of college players opting to minimize risk of injury and damaging future NFL stock by sitting out their teams bowl games has spread to Baylor, as senior running back Shock Linwood has decided to end his career at Baylor and focus on preparation for the 2017 NFL draft.
Linwood became Baylor’s all-time leading rusher earlier this season but has seen his production decrease progressively throughout the season partially due to the emergence of the dual running threats of sophomore running back Terence Williams and freshman JaMychal Hasty. Linwood has also found himself on the wrong end of disciplinary issues under acting head coach Jim Grobe.
Grobe suspended Linwood before the Oklahoma game on Nov. 12 and said that Shock [Linwood] needed to work through some “attitude” issues.
Linwood finished his collegiate career at Baylor with 4, 213 yards and 36 touchdowns. However, most of his success came while Art Briles was still Baylor’s head coach, as he rushed for a career-low 751 yards in 2016. However, he did rush for a career best 237 yards in Baylor’s thrilling 45-42 comeback victory over Iowa State on Oct. 1.
According to College Football 24/7 writer Chase Goodbread, Linwood’s absence from the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl against Boise State could serve as a missed opportunity to impress NFL scouts since he is not expected to be an early round selection in April’s draft.
Despite all the success that Linwood had on the gridiron for Baylor, bowl success has eluded him. In 2015, he was injured and did not play in the team’s 49-38 win over North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl. In a 52-42 loss to the University of Central Florida in the Tostito’s Fiesta Bowl in 2013 and a 42-41 loss to Michigan State in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic, Linwood rushed for a combined 45 yards on 14 carries and did not score a touchdown. Now by choosing to opt out of Baylor’s upcoming game on Tuesday against Boise State, a bowl touchdown and victory will be accolades that will remain absent on Linwood’s college résumé.
Linwood will now look to impress the NFL scouts and general managers at the 2017 Scouting Combine, which will run from Feb. 28 to Mar. 6 in Indianapolis, Ind.